tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 26, 2009 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT
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america's political life through some of its most turbulent decades dead at 77. he had become the patriarch of america's first family, one of the last ties to camelot, and will soon be laid to rest alongside his brothers at arlington cemetery. good afternoon. i'm chuck todd live in washington. president obama said an important chapter in our history has come to an end with the passing of senator ted kennedy. the man who the president says is synonymous with the democratic party will lie in repose at the john f. kennedy presidential library in boston on friday. what we don't know is whether he'll end up lying in state or in repose at the capitol where he made his legacy. his funeral will be held saturday at our lady of perpetual help basilica in the mission hill section of boston. president obama will speak at the mass. his body will be flown to virginia where he will be laid to rest at arlington national cemetery very close to both of his brothers. president obama issued a proclamation ordering the american flag be flown at half staff across the united states today in honor of the who served
for nearly 47 years. both the president and the vice president praised kennedy today. >> the outpouring of love, gratitude, and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in american history touched so many lives. his ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives. seniors who know new dignity and families that know new opportunity, in children who know education's promise, and in all who can pursue their dream in an america that is more equal and more just, including myself. >> don't you find it remarkable that one of the most partisan, liberal men in the last century, serving in the senate, that so
many of his -- so many of his foes embrace him. >> senator biden of course had a lot of personal moments and tragedy in his life and ted kennedy was the guy there. there's a great story about him when he was suffering from that brain anuerism and the guy that came to see him in delaware, one of the first people to come visit was senator kennedy with a little tap on the door. the kennedy family released a statement this morning that reads, we've lost the irreplaceable center of our family, and joyous light in our lives, you about inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. joining me now from hyannis port is nbc's andrea mitchell. andrea, i know you've been thinking a lot about the life and legacy of ted kennedy and i want to start our conversation this way. when did he stop being the third brother and when did he become
ted kennedy? >> good question. i think, clearly, after bobby's death he became ted kennedy in terms of the family because we saw him in all of those family roles. he really raised bobby kennedy's kids and his own kids and he was the male figure they all turned to. it was he who was giving away the various nieces each time -- >> andrea, let me interrupt you. there's an amazing story, what is it, the day that his son got his leg amputated he had to run to give away caroline at her wedding. is that correct? >> exactly. that's exactly right. but when did he come into his own in the senate? i think it was really only in later years when he began this enormous domestic legislation, that agenda. we saw his role in the civil rights debate. we've seen it over the years but when he finally came into his own it was with health care and education. the judiciary committee, yes, he
was the leader of the judiciary committee. he was the leader on armed services and challenged the iraq war and that was he says the most important vote of his career. amazing he would say that of a 46 1/2 year career but it was in fact on health care legislation, the americans for disability act, the gun control initiatives that he tried to push through, all of those, domestic issues for what was most passionate for him. >> we're hearing about the good old days of the senate a lot today from republicans in your hour talking about the fact that you could be both partisan, i think i had one republican consultant say to me he had a way of being partisan and a compromiser and a leader and a pragmatist and all of this. and we're hearing a lot about the good old days of the senate and, you know, back in the day when so and so could talk with so and so. that does seem to be missing and that is the thing it seems like everybody, democrat and republican, is pointing to with ted kennedy's loss. >> well, in those days in the senate you had a sort of safe
middle and people were passionate on some issues or another but there was that tradition of senate courtesy. and even in 1993 when -- right before health care really was jettisoned because bob dole and others saw that the president was vulnerable and they didn't see the need to compromise but there was still an effort by a whole group of people, you know, the other republicans there, obviously howard baker and others who were trying to put something together and that is of course what we've now lost because it seems as though over the years the safe middle of the senate that senator kennedy for all of his partisanship did represent has dissipated. >> there is no more safe middle. is that what you would say as someone who covered congress for years, now sees that as an observer there is no safe middle? >> you know better than anyone
how senate races have now become so partisan, how the wings have become so powerful in each of the parties especially of course in the house where people no longer can be elected who have seen the disappearance of republicans from all of new england and the northeast. so that is one of the major changes that we've seen. i think it is our media. it's cable talk. >> right. >> it's the internet. the blogs feaosphere, the talk that started and there was a little help from ralph nader along the way and then the house speaker was kicked out, jim wright and the scandal. >> don't forget robert forbes, as well, and ted kennedy's role. i know we'll be chatting more along the way. thank very much. joining me on the phone is msnbc contributor and life long kennedy observer and friend, mike barnacle. i want to start with a story from adam that's based in adam's
book. it's the '70s, it's the height of a busing fight about the schools and integration of the schools in the city of boston and you write a column that says, senator kennedy, we need you. talk about boston in that period and senator kennedy's role in that in the busing controversy at that time. >> well, chuck, it was i think a transforming moment for senator kennedy. he had been, his whole family had been so used to getting the votes of the largely irish catholic working class constituency just automatically. >> right. >> and busing, which was as much of a class division as it was a racial division in boston at that time took everyone by surprise in terms of the violence that it started on the streets. and so that piece as i remember it was, you know, urging, an open letter to senator kennedy,
you know, to come and speak to people who were in the streets, which he did. and the reception -- >> and it wasn't well received, was it? >> it was not well received. and he was mildly surprised although not shocked at it. but it got him thinking more and more about the issue and the more he thought about the issue, the more he realized there was a balance there that while racial divisions were clearly apparent on television and that's what we carried even in those days, the pictures of, you know, poor white working class people throwing rocks at school buses carrying black children to south boston high school, he realized it was deeper than that and he told me months after that confrontation outside government center actually, the jfk federal building, that he realized you had poor blacks and poor whites fighting for the same small share of an educational pie that
didn't mean they were going to harvard and these same people were pitted against one another fighting for the same small share of an economic pie, low paying jobs and everything like that. so it broadened his horizons and was an education to him and to me as well. >> you know, that education goes along, there are many versions of ted kennedy and everybody seems to have a version we're hearing about today. there's the politician, the policy wonk, the guy that had his own personal demons. what should be the way that his legacy is measured? how much of it all -- i mean, is it that because he was all of these things that made him larger in life when you have almost three distinct personas? >> well, you know, my own personal belief, and this is just me, is that if you tend to take a couple seconds out of your day to think about ted kennedy, think beyond the legislative accomplishments. think beyond the ambitions thwarted because of chappaquiddick and ended in 1980
when he ran unsuccessfully against carter. think beyond the family legend and think about a man who if anyone ever earned the right to be cynical, to be bitter, to hate elements of the life around us he chose not to. he was not a man of -- he did not hate. he was not cynical about anything. and i think that's one of life's lessons for all of us. >> msnbc contributor and long-time kennedy family friend mike barnicle, thanks very much. >> thank you, chuck. >> still ahead this hour the kennedy family tree. we'll look at tragedys of the clan who lived their lives in the public eye and also kennedy's stamp in the senate. >> the work begins anew! the hope rises again! and the dream lives on. ( whooshing )
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it is good to be back in the united states senate after a brief absence. i'm very thankful to so many of our colleagues, this side of the aisle and on the other side, as well, that wished me well. matter of fact, there were a number of those on the other side of the aisle that urged me to take even additional time, that the senate could function very well without my presence. >> kennedy's sense of humor there. joining me now on the phone is former kansas republican senator, nancy kassenbaum baker. she teamed up with senator kennedy on health care reform back in the early '90s and is wife of the former senate republican leader howard baker who himself worked with senator
kennedy as well. senator kassenbaum, thanks for joining me. just share, you know, a lot of people are talking about the good old days of the senate, when the senate work the together and this or that and, you know, i'm of two minds when i hear the phrase "good old days." sometimes you hear that and you say well it's always the good old days and we always want to say it was better then and that isn't always the case but there does seem to be a common thread here about the u.s. senate today and the u.s. senate ted kennedy was a member of and the senate that you were a member of. talk about what it was like to work across party lines with somebody that probably was not popular in kansas. >> well, that may be true, chuck, but i have a couple of things regarding senator kennedy. one, his voice will be greatly missed and his presence in the senate. whether you agreed with him or not it was a voice that was heard. and when he cared about
legislation, he was able to be extremely dedicated and skillful in trying to get the best results possible. and that i learned when i worked with him on our health insurance portability bill. he also had a great sense of humor and he could be, you know, could bellow when he wanted to and frequently did in committee and on the senate floor but he also had a respect for the senate and for congress and the importance of that as an institution. and i think as we all get older, we tend to say, oh, well, it was bet inner t better in the old days. what's different today i think is we really fail to stop and consider the other side of the aisle. we don't listen. we just all want to have our
voices heard and we don't spend the time to really see how we can engage. i think that's what senator kennedy did. he cared -- i came to have enormous amount of respect for his skill as a legislator, as someone who did have a good sense of humor and who cared about what happened to individuals in this country and abroad. we worked -- when i was chairing the african subcommittee on the antiapartheid language and he was taking a large voice in that issue as well. but he also was willing to see what could be constructive and result at the end of the day. >> you had your own famous lineage, married to famous lineage, you come from your own famous lineage. what lessons did you take
watching ted kennedy having to represent an entire family and you had to do the same with your father. what kind of lessons did you draw from that? >> well, i expect as senator kennedy did and perhaps i did i realized when my father didn't even want me to run for the senate when i did in 1978 that there are times you had to do what you thought would be the best thing for you to do at the time. and i think all families, whether -- politics is unique and it is extremely hard on families. >> right. >> as you know, as you've observed, it takes a lot of time, but i hope that we can regain an appreciation and a respect for listening to other voices that through this whole health care debate there's been
such shouting that how could anyone really -- it isn't a debate. it isn't even really listening. and i think that hopefully what maybe as we think about senator kennedy, and there are those who would say oh, well, you know, how could you trust him? >> right. >> but they're saying that about nearly everybody today if they don't agree with them. >> right. well, senator kassenbaum baker one of the most distinguished alumni of the u.s. senate thanks for joining us today. >> well, it was my pleasure and honored to be there. thank you very much. >> you got it. joining me now is former democratic senator from indiana burt bye father of the current u.s. senator there evan bayh. senator bayh you were part of an almost tragic period for senator kennedy. it was a plane crash that took place while on the way to a campaign event. if you wouldn't mind just sharing the story with our viewers right now.
>> i never look forward to talking about this, chuck. >> i understand. >> but you ask the question and i don't mind answering it. that was a terrible night. it was very -- the weather was terrible. the plane was bouncing around. we probably never should have been taking off but there we were headed for the springfield national guard airport. it had no sophisticated radar or anything like that and the pilot did his best -- he landed about a mile short of the runway in an apple orchard. he was killed and riding next to him in shotgun was ted's legislative assistant. he was killed and ted of course was seriously injured and my wife was injured. i was, too, to a lesser extent. but why we all didn't die, i don't know. i was afraid we'd go up in a puff of smoke. >> when you pulled senator kennedy out of the plane because of that very fear, is that
right? >> i frankly at the beginning, chuck, when i started yelling at him, he didn't answer and when i walked around and saw these other fellows were either dead or on the way to dying i assumed he was but then when i smelled all that gasoline fuel i thought we had to make another try and this time when i yelled at him he sort of mumbled and i was able to get him out of there and put him over in the weeds so to speak and go for help. his back was seriously injured. >> it's a moment that nobody can understand except yourself and senator kennedy and so when you saw him in the hospital i believe he was in the hospital for months trying to recover from this surgery, and from breaking his back. what did he share with you about surviving, that moment? >> i lost -- would you repeat? >> what did he share with you about surviving? you know, when you saw and visited him in the hospital did
he share what it felt like to survive the near death experience? [ audio difficulty -- stand by ] >> well, i think we're losing senator bayh there. we're going to have to let him go. technology, you never know with cell phones. still ahead we'll talk to ted sorenson, speechwriter for prekd and a long-time family friend and get his thoughts on the life and legacy of senator ted kennedy. you've wanted to quit smoking so many times,
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>> known as the lion of the senate, ted kennedy was well respected on both sides of the aisle. spent nearly five decades defending the poor and politically disadvantaged and worked for compromises that could attract republican votes. he worked to improve health care, education, civil rights, and labor laws. he cast more than 15,000 votes. he wrote 2500 bills, 300 of those became laws. he worked on the religious freedom, restoration act of 1993. he was the senate's leading voice on civil rights including the 1982 voting rights act extension. in 1996 and again in 2007 he was the lead senate sponsor of legislation increasing the minimum wage. joining me now on the phone, new hampshire republican senator judd gregg. senator, everybody is always vying to be new hampshire's third senator. usually ty has to do with presidential ambitions but in ted kennedy's case he was probably somebody you felt like you could sometimes rely on when it came to the region and to new
england's needs. >> oh, of course. he was a great colleague. everybody enjoyed him in new hampshire and throughout new england. we all greatly admired him and appreciated having him represent the new england region. he was a good guy representing new england. >> senator, you come, obviously new hampshire a tradition of having feisty political arguments, sometimes of well known repute up there, the new hampshire formerly manchester union leader could have tough editorials against senator kennedy. how is that you could have your conservative base have so much anger and hatred toward ted kennedy and yet have -- find so many republicans willing to work with him? >> well, i think hate is the wrong word. ted was very aggressive in presenting his philosophical views which he held very deeply and he spoke very well on behalf of the views that he held but he
also understood that there was a time for argument and then there was a time to get things done and he was the consummate deal maker in the sense that he was always willing to sit down and try to reach a point of compromise that would work. >> we're hearing a lot about -- we'll hear a lot about the good old days of the senate. you are part of this current u.s. senate. are you one of those that ascribe to this theory that, hey, if ted kennedy were there right now things would be different when it comes to the health care debate or do you think that the senate is so polarized that this one person can't have that same impact? >> oh, no. ted would -- i have said for many months now that if ted were active on the health care issue we would probably be making a lot more progress because of the fact that first he wanted to legislate. his ultimate goal was always to pass a bill, something that he was comfortable with but he knew he'd have to reach compromise on but he always wanted to legislate. secondly, he has the support and the confidence of the liberal element of our society relative
to politics and therefore when he made an agreement he didn't get attacked from the left or from the liberal base and thus he had the ability to go maybe a little further than other people could in reaching an agreement. because he had such confidence there. >> senator gregg, thanks very much. appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this sad day. just ahead, a closer look at america's first political family. ted kennedy's relationship with his brothers and how he became the family patriarch after their deaths. also talk to david gregory about the political landscape he left behind. you're watching special coverage of the death of senator edward kennedy here on msnbc. amandai know sandra personally. and she was only able to afford a week's worth of medication at a time. sandrasome of my medication was $100 for one prescription. amandabut now, she's able to get a whole month's generic prescription for $4. amandashe's also able to get a three-month supply for just $10. sandrai just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
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some day come to pass for all the world. as he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him, some men see things as they are and say why? i dream things that never were and say why not? >> it was a young senator ted kennedy eulogizing his brother robert f. kennedy at st. patrick's cathedral on june 8th, 1968. of course robert kennedy was assassinated days before at the age of 42 just after winning california's democratic presidential primary election which probably would have given him the nomination that year. welcome back to msnbc. i'm chuck todd. we're remembering the life and legacy of senator edward m. kennedy today. kennedy died of brain cancer overnight at the age of 77. the democrat from massachusetts was the youngest of nine children born to joseph and rose kennedy and was the last surviving brother of the kennedy dynasty. his sister, jean kennedy smith,
is the only surviving sibling. if you go to msnbc.com you can take a look at the whole kennedy family tree. joining me now to talk about the kennedy family and senator ted kennedy's relationship with all of these members is the coauthor of a tremendous book "the fall and rise of ted kennedy" and such a great way of putting it. he is also a staff writer for "the boston globe" magazine and also an msnbc news contributor. i want to start off and go through everybody in here and work with me. let's start with senator kennedy's relationship with his oldest brother who died in world war ii, joe kennedy. if you could give me a sentence or two as we go through this a little bit but what was his relationship with a brother he didn't know very well? >> sure, chuck. with joe jr., it was reverence. joe was the golden child, the anointed one, who was supposed to be the first irish catholic president. and ted revered him, looked up
to him. but as you said, didn't know him all that well. >> and then there was of course john kennedy, the kennedy that made it to the presidency. their relationship, it seemed as if john kennedy took a lot of special interest in the political career of ted kennedy. >> ted kennedy was the baby and in the family for many years he was the one they turned to for laughs, for relief. >> the chubby kid, right? >> the chubby kid. even when jack was president and bobby was his trusted aide and confidante he would turn to teddy when he needed a break, when he wanted some cigars and some drinks and to relax and exhale. with bobby he felt he couldn't do that. with teddy he could. >> rosemary kennedy, what was -- this was of course the mentally disabled sister, senator kennedy's relationship, the impact she had on him? >> well, it's interesting. in that family jack was ted's godfather. rosemary was his god mother.
and if you imagine, in this family, just the sadness and the tragedies that came one after another and yet ted kennedy continued to be such a positive person. think about when rosemary, when she was lobotomized, a botched lobotomy and just disappeared from the family when he was 8 years old. she went to a nursing home and never had much connection since then. i think there was a huge void in the family and particularly about this sister he didn't really know. >> kathleen kennedy of course also died tragically. >> yes, again, 8 years old when rosemary disappeared. 12 years old when joe jr. is killed. 16 when kathleen is killed in a plane crash in europe. this series of events long before the assassination that became the fixed point in american history for many people in the family life the tragedies started much earlier. >> he had a complicated
relationship i imagine with eunice kennedy because it seemed there was a political rivalry between sergeant shriver and ted kennedy back in the post bobby kennedy davis the late '60s, early '70s in the democratic party. correct? >> i think there was a complication there that happened later because for the kennedys, loyalty -- competition within the family and then loyalty outside -- when the competition came from outside. that was the governing process and with sergeant shriver that complicated that a bit. but with eunice there was a love and closeness that began in 1962 when teddy was first running for office. >> right. >> her father, who entrusted eunice with a lot of responsibilities, she had the purse strings for his campaign so ted had to go through eunice to get money to start the campaign. >> earn his way in. patricia kennedy lawford. what was their relationship? >> i think close as well although when she married a
hollywood actor and kind of entered that orbit there was some distance within the family. >> right. >> that was harder to bridge i think. because she was really one of the few kennedys who left the nest so to speak, something ted as a young man hoped to do, to break out from the shadow of his brothers. he never really was able. he ended up following them and then carrying on their legacy. pat was able to break apart from the kennedy nest egg in hyannis port there. >> and next in line is bobby kennedy and what made this relationship probably unique was that here was the baby of the family who was technically the senior senator of the two kennedys, once bobby kennedy entered the united states senate in 1964. that relationship, how did that work out? can you imagine that, in 1965 when they both take office, how that upset the family dynamics? because as you know, bobby, although he was jack's younger brother, he was the executive of the family.
he was the one who was the take charge disciplined person who handled things and teddy as we talked about before was seen as the lovable kid brother but as you say, when he comes in and in 1964 and runs belatedly for a senate seat after being bypassed for the vice presidential nomination that he hoped to get from lyndon johnson, ted is the senior senator. and i think then that was a reel spi special time for these brothers because it changed the dynamics in that relationship. bobby learned that he could learn from teddy and not just direct him and give him tasks. ted had spent two years understanding how the institution of the senate worked. people had expected him to come in and be the entitled kid brother and he didn't. when he joined the senate he learned through deference how to get ahead and how to learn and make alliances. bobby had to turn to ted to learn that. >> not much has been said today
about jean kennedy smith, the last remaining kennedy of that generation. and for all of the tragedy we talk about that ted has seen, she is still seeing it. she is -- does she wante matria at this point stay in the background? >> i don't see any indication that she does. she was of course married to steve smith with whom kennedy was very close. >> a major political player in the kennedy family. >> major political player. and pretty much the main outsider, nonblood relative of the kennedys who was treated most like a blood relative because he was the fixer and the man behind the scenes who salvaged a lot of situations for the kennedys and was the main
' emmisarry. jean, i don't know whether she wants a more public role. >> thanks for doing that with us. a lot of people today are trying to bone up on their kennedy family history. thanks very much. >> my pleasure. thanks. coming up tonight, chris matthews takes a look at the life and legacy of the kennedy family. "the kennedy brothers" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern only on msnbc. funeral arrangements for senator kennedy begin tomorrow. a motorcade carrying his body will depart hyannis port and head to boston. the senator will lie in repose at the jfk presidential library before a funeral mass saturday at our lady of perpetual health basilica. his final resting place will be arlington national cemetery. joining me live from the jfk presidential library in boston, where i imagine it's already becoming a little bit of a makeshift memorial, mike taibe. >> yes, it is exactly that, chuck. some people have stopped by already to drop flowers off. presumably crowds tomorrow will be huge once the body is
transported by motorcade from hyannis to the presidential library which was dedicated by the way with senator kennedy giving the dedication remarks back in 1979. i remember. i was here. the body will be here lying in repose through tomorrow afternoon. on friday from 10:00 to 4:00 it will continue to be in repose for public viewing. tomorrow night, friday night there will be a private viewing and a gathering for family and friends and the funeral as you say at our lady of perpetual help in boston on saturday morning. that's the church where senator kennedy prayed on a regular basis in 2003 when his daughter kara was waging out what turned out to be a successful fight against lung cancer. after that funeral mass, the final motorcade in massachusetts to logan airport, the flight back to washington where he'll be buried alongside his brothers robert and john on a bluff in arlington national cemetery across the potomac overlooking the capitol where senator kennedy served under ten presidents of 47 years an extraordinary career ending on saturday. back to you, chuck. >> well put, mike. thanks very much. just ahead we'll talk to ted
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we're going live down in south carolina where governor mark sanford is trying to rebut some resignation calls. he said he's not going to be railroaded out of a job. let's take a quick listen. >> you know, the first wrong was mine. very simple. i've said more about it than ever needs to be said. but this next one, when folks go to all the numbers and look at the different matrix by which we can be compared we come out look incredibly good. this goes well beyond simply the notion of us using the state plane a full third less than any previous administration or one-half less than one of the other administrations. it goes beyond selling off a jet that you could fly across the
atlantic in and saving a million dollars in the process. it goes beyond using an assess nah to go around the -- using a cessna because it was cheaper. as it turns out, we begin to look into this and if people want to do serious reporting or serious investigation, they will be uncovering these facts. it turns out now, forget the cost of a business class ticket or first class ticket or even a private jet across the atlantic. it turns out now as we begin to do our little bit of looking around, folks were flying back and forth on the concorde from europe in days past. it turns out that members of the general assembly were flying on business class tickets. it turns out that there was a long standing practice of drop-offs and pickups with regard to state planes and other assets that was anything but the best interests of the taxpayer. it turns out that, you know, political leadership in the state used the state plane to go
to golf outings or weddings or a whole host of things and it really does need to be looked at within that larger context of how did this administration use these state assets or anything else it was responsible for when measured against other administrations. so i think it's wrong to try and rewrite history on that front. i also think it's wrong given the constitutionally weak status of governorship in south carolina, as much as i might want to fold the tent, again, for future governors, just because folks might be frenzied up or frightened or other things in the general assembly does not mean it is the right time to fold the tent. i would certainly say that good decisions in the world of politics as in every other area of life are based on facts not reports. and so if i was to go around the room and ask you, how many first class tickets have been bought by this administration? you'd say what?
>> announcer: dozen or so at least. >> okay. a dozen or so. what would be your guess? >> 50. >> 50? and we cog around the room and get different answers based on an unfair assessment because that's what originally got reported in the ap and has been picked up in every paper since then. the answer is, zero. and we can prove that. and i look forward to, you know, an ethics study that would actually begin to look at reality versus 12 or 50 first class tickets when zero were purchased. you don't want to make a decision in the world of politics based on innuendo, suggestion, or reports when reality is something else. and finally, i would say, i send this letter humbly back to the lieutenant governor because i really do believe and i would not be sticking around for this were it not for this abiding fact, that we have a real opportunity here in these last 16 months to do some profound things with regard to
restructuring, spending, with regard to jobs and the economy in the state of south carolina that have never been there before in the history of at least my administration. and i say that because in many cases, people kept assigning to me the next ladder up as to why i wanted to do this or that. he's only talking about stimulus because he wants to run for president. he's only talking about this because he wants the next spot on the ladder. again, what is clear is that the end of my time in politics is at the end of 16 months but i do want to make the most of it and i think that with, again, with people being in the general assembly saying, well it ain't about him climbing to the next spot on the ladder but about do we or don't we want to do it with regard or spending limits or different opportunities with jobs in the economy. that's what i want to aim alt and going to be aimed at here over the next 16 months. i just wanted to say that and leave it with you all. ben, would you hand these things out? i thank you for your time.
>> well, that was governor mark sanford. republican governor. he's having to respond to his lieutenant governor who asked for his resignation, said it was time for him to go. governor sanford obviously deciding he's not only not going to do ta but almost played a questioner himself trying to quiz those in the press of him, defend some of the charges against him whether he used public funds to carry on that fair. so we'll be right back. through holly, colorado, air life denver took to the air... their night-vision goggles keeping them safe on a perilous flight... and powering those precision goggles--- is the only battery air life trusts: duracell. trusted everywhere. look for new duracell ultra advanced now with even more power to protect.
the work goes on. the cause endures. the hope still lives. and the dream shall never die. >> joining us now to talk about what the loss of senator kennedy means in the u.s. senate, the push for health care reform and the kennedy dynasty is david gregory, "meet the press." one of his dreams that he started pursuing legislatively
was universal health care. >> that's right. >> and he almost had it so many times. got away. do you expect democrats, the white house, to use this moment as a way to make one more push and get command of the health care debate. >> i think they do. in as up as kennedy has been loom over this debate from the very start, don't forget when he said in 2008, i'll give you the endorsement, senator obama, on one condition, universal health care is the first priority. of course, obama agreed. he's still been a huge player, you know, the aura of him over this debate. but that hasn't been enough. and i think that certainly is the white house will use democrats will use the name, the aura of senator kennedy to say, look, this is the year it has to be done. you can see certainly tactically them pushing for a vote. making republicans oppose universal health care. and the other aspect of this is some of the things ted kennedy
fought for over the years going back to the late 60s on health care are things within the realm of possibility now in a way they weren't before. >> part of this goes to the vacuum now being left in the senate and the fact is harry reid and mitch mcconnell have the title of leader but there seems to be universal acknowledgement when teddy was at his active best, he could command that leadership in the senate. is there any way that vacuum gets filled short term or is it going to take awhile before the senate self-selects the next teddy. >> i think a couple points about that. a younger generation of reporters are covering washington and covering it at such a polarized time. you talk to brokaw or tim russert when he was alive, you recall an era where bipartisanship of the type ta we saw with ted kennedy was possible. it attracted that kind of person and ted kennedy was able to thrive there. now you've got president obama facing such a polarized institution in the senate and
certainly that in the house. it makes it a lot more difficult. so the question of who picks up the mantle and whether patrick kennedy does that a question. >> hillary clinton and joe biden a year ago, i think those were the first two names people would have said, the guys would have taken the mantle. neither are in the senate. >> you're right. and patrick kennedy is obviously the son, but there are very different circumstances that thrust senator kennedy into the senate when his brother was president. it's not an obvious -- look at the health care debate. right now president obama is rely on senator baucus to craft this grand alliance with the gop on health care. it's not happening. so it's not immediately clear who forges that alliance because the place has become a lot more partisan. you've got such a divide on some of these issues, it's a lot more difficult. >> david gregory, thanks very much. what a great time to teach a lot of people about the history of the u.s. senate. that does it for me. i'm chuck todd, david shuster and tamron hall are up next
continuing our special coverage of the life and death of senator edward m. kennedy here on msnbc. going to miss when you have an allergy attack? achoo! (announcer) benadryl is more effective than claritin at relieving your worst mptoms. and works when you need it most. benadryl. you can't pause life. some pharmacies make you work for it with memberships and fees. but not walmart. they have hundreds of generic prescriptions for just $4 for up to a 30-day supply or $10 for 90 days.